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This Summer, Include Blue Flag In Your Family’s Beach Plans

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Environmental Defence Blue Flag Program

Photo courtesy of Environmental Defence

If you don’t have a pool or a cottage, heading to a public beach is the next best way to stay cool, and have fun, during a hot summer’s day.

We’ve already taken advantage of spending some time at a couple of beaches in the Ottawa area this summer. Being able to swim at a beach that is clean and safe is important to us – and to Canadians who like to enjoy all the beautiful beaches we have in this great country of ours.

The problem is, thanks to pollution from various human activities, including littering, some of our beaches aren’t clean and safe.

That’s why I was thrilled to hear about Environmental Defence’s Blue Flag Program.

Here’s Blue Flag Program Manager, Ashley Wallis, to explain more about this great program.

The lazy, hazy days of summer are here. And for many Canadian families there’s no better place to beat the heat than at the beach.

But how do you know if you’re taking your family to a beach that is clean, safe, and sustainably managed? Blue Flag can help.

Blue Flag is a world-renowned eco-certification for beaches and marinas that meet a set of strict international criteria under four categories: Environmental Education, Environmental Management, Water Quality, and Safety & Services.

In Canada, 26 beaches and seven marinas proudly fly the flag, and there are more than 4,000 Blue Flags flying in 49 countries around the world. It’s a symbol trusted by millions. The program is run internationally by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). In Canada, Environmental Defence, a national environmental charity, administers the program.

Some of Canada’s best known beaches are Blue Flag certified. Port Stanley, Grand Bend, and Bayfield Beach in Ontario and West Grand Beach in Manitoba all received the designation this year.

When a Blue Flag is flying, tourists and residents are assured that a beach is an excellent spot for swimming. Blue Flag beaches must meet provincial water quality standards 80 per cent of the swimming season in order to get the flag, and their most recent water quality results are posted on Blue Flag beaches are required to have lifeguards or lifesaving equipment on-site, and must be accessible for everyone.

Kids playing at beach

Photo courtesy of Environmental Defence

Environmental education is also a key part of Blue Flag. Visitors are encouraged to connect with the natural environment – splash in the water, play with the sand, learn about the local birds, plants and underwater creatures, and take actions to support the long-term health of the shoreline.

Blue Flag beaches work to ensure that Canada’s shorelines are protected for generations to come through various environmental management initiatives. For example, many Blue Flag beaches have successfully restored dune ecosystems, which stabilize the shoreline and provide important coastal habitat. Blue Flag beaches are home to several species at risk, including the endangered Piping Plover. In Ontario, this small shorebird can be found nesting at Blue Flag certified Wasaga Beach. Birders come from all over the province to catch a glimpse of this rare and adorable species.

Boy running into water

Photo courtesy of Environmental Defence

So, when planning a trip to a beach this summer, be sure to check out the beaches listed on or and choose to visit a Blue Flag destination. You know it will be well maintained, managed responsibly, and a great spot to spend some quality time with your family.

Ashley Wallis, Blue Flag Program Manager

Environmental Defence

Environmental Defence Blue Flag Kleen Kanteen Reusable Bottle

While having fun at the beach this summer, it’s important to stay hydrated. To help you do that, Environmental Defence’s Blue Flag program is giving away four high-quality, durable, and re-usable stainless steel water bottles from Klean Kanteen. You can refill it on-the-go to stay refreshed while saving money and helping the environment at the same time.

Here’s how you can enter for your chance to WIN! Good luck!






Disclosure: Canadian Blog House received compensation for this post. All opinions are our own.

  1. August 2, 2016

    Caryn Coates

    I haven’t been to any of these beaches.

  2. July 31, 2016

    Jon M

    I have never been to one. This is actually the first time hearing of this.

  3. July 29, 2016

    Monique L.S.

    I have not been to any of these beaches.

  4. July 29, 2016

    Erika Letson

    I have spent lots of time at the Grand Bend Beach in Ontario before. I would love to see the beach in the town of Goderich, Ontario designated as a Blue Flag beach. It’s our family’s favourite beach and it’s a lovely family spot!

  5. July 29, 2016


    I hadn’t heard of this before, and now I know that is because there are non in my area! Come on BC!

  6. July 27, 2016

    Sarah De Diego

    I’ve never been to one but just found out that there are a bunch in Toronto and Wasaga Beach. Packing my flipflops right now!

    Besos, Sarah
    Journeys of The Zoo

  7. July 27, 2016


    No, I never been to one but I’d like to!

  8. July 26, 2016


    We’re at wasaga a lot during the summer

  9. July 26, 2016

    Heather Lynne

    This is a great program! We have been talking about going to Grand Bend in August- happy to know they’re one of them!

  10. July 25, 2016


    Ashbridges Bay & Woodbine Beach are a 15 walk from our house, we go all the time!

  11. July 25, 2016


    yes! I’ve spent time at West Grand Beach 🙂 I’d love to see all of the beaches in Canada certified!

  12. July 24, 2016

    margo b

    I have never been but would LOVE to go , thanks for the chance to win

  13. July 23, 2016

    Kelley Moore

    No I haven’t but they look beautiful

  14. July 23, 2016


    I have not spent anytime at blue flag beaches. I would love to spend time at the Ottawa beach!

  15. July 22, 2016

    caroline m.

    I have not been to any but would love to see Anse Lazio in Seychelles designated.

  16. July 21, 2016

    Nancy T

    The closest blue flag beach to me is the City of Barrie Marina. We haven’t been though.

  17. July 20, 2016

    lisa bolduc

    they don’t have any here in Ottawa, I would love to have one at mooneys bay, as its right by my house

  18. July 20, 2016

    Diana Powell

    I haven’t yet but have been meaning to visit Port Stanley beach . Wish Cobourgh beach had a blue flag.

  19. July 20, 2016

    Juliee Fitze

    The beach in Fenelon Falls would be great if it was blue flaged.

  20. July 19, 2016

    Melinda Jana

    I had no idea LaSalle Park Marina was blue flag! I hope the ones up north by Southamptons and Port Elgin get blue flag in the future

  21. July 19, 2016


    No i haven’t. I would love to see a beach in Vancouver with this.

  22. July 19, 2016


    The only one I have been to is the one in Halifax 🙂

  23. July 19, 2016

    Melissa Marie

    I have not been but would like to go

  24. July 19, 2016

    Kim K

    I haven’t been to any of the Blue Flag certified beaches and would love to see Wasaga Beach on the list too.

  25. July 19, 2016


    We spend a lot of time at Wasaga Beach. We love it there!

  26. July 19, 2016

    Darlene W

    Never heard of this before I read your post, I am certainly going to pass on this info to my kids so they may take their children to a BLUE FLAG Beach. I would like to see Christie Lake Beach as a Blue Flag Beach

  27. July 19, 2016


    i have never seen a blue flag before; but then again, i rarely go to beaches! Would be great to see this at any Ottawa beach!

  28. July 19, 2016

    Marilyn Legault

    Never been to one yet.

  29. July 19, 2016


    Great program! I was just on line looking at beaches in the Outaouais region. Thanks for posting this useful information Sandy!

    • July 19, 2016


      You’re welcome, Christina! It’s such a great program. I hope it inspires more people to keep beaches clean and strive to get a blue flag for their beach. Thanks for stopping by!

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